Feb.13 (GMM) Red Bull’s preparations to defend Max Verstappen’s back-to-back world titles in 2023 are going “smoothly” and “on schedule”.
That is the relaxed assessment of the energy drink company’s top F1 official Dr Helmut Marko, speaking as the premier team conducted a low-profile ‘shakedown’ run with the 2023 car at Silverstone.
Dutchman Verstappen, again wearing the number 1, said the debut went “really smooth”.
So relaxed is Red Bull that Marko, 79, attended neither the recent New York launch or the Silverstone shakedown.
“Everything is going smoothly with the preparations,” the Austrian said from Graz, where he is based. “Everything is on schedule,” Marko told f1-insider.com.
Despite the wind tunnel restrictions as part of the budget cap overspend breach, Marko expects that Red Bull will re-emerge at the front of the field in 2023.
“The car last year only reached the weight limit in the second half of the season,” he said. “That was one of the reasons why Max made his march after that.”
Marko spent time late last season negotiating with Honda over a possible extension of its engine collaboration after 2026, but ultimately decided to align with Ford.
“It’s a good deal with Ford,” he said. “I was in Detroit for it, the talks went well and harmoniously from the start. We wrapped things up pretty quickly.
“From 2026 the engine will be called Red Bull Ford. For me, this closes a circle.”
Indeed, Marko raced a Ford Capri touring car in the early 70s; Red Bull’s first F1 partnership was with Sauber and Ford in the mid 90s; and the energy drink company ultimately bought Jaguar from the Ford Motor Company.
“It was our start in Formula 1 with our own team,” he said.
“Unlike this time, we didn’t negotiate in the USA. It was in England,” Marko smiled. “But it was the beginning of our success story. That’s why you can really say we’ve come full circle.”